Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Book Review: Outlander

OUTLANDER [Outlander 1]
Diana Gabaldon
Bookshelves: Historical, Time travelling, Romance


The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Verdict

So I decided to read the Outlander books having come across some rave reviews on Goodreads. It wasn't really what I was expecting. The story started freshly, a young couple trying to rekindle their marriage after a long time staying apart. They are on their second honeymoon in Scotland, enjoying their excursions and unwinding from all the terrors that haunts one in the wake of a bloody battle, in this case WWII.

Moving on to the time travelling and we have Claire in the highlands some 200 years earlier and she's outspoken, curses like a sailor, and has no problem snapping out orders. What's more, she really isn't intimidated by the Scots clad in their kilts and exuding fierce barbaric auras.

I bit back a smile each time she dressed Jamie's wounds and barked at him. I said to myself, now this is interesting. Let's see what these men make of a modern woman, someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind and won't be docile ¬¬

Boy, was I disappointed! She not only let herself be coerced into marrying [though I suppose it wasn't that much of a coercion since she found Jamie attractive], but also let him beat and rape her among other things. I found it distasteful to be honest and unforgivable, I can't put down in words my shock and horror at finally realizing that Jamie thrashed Claire and I was so angry when she forgave him after hearing his stupid childhood beatings. I realize, that during those times it wasn't uncommon to treat one's wife in such a crude fashion but it wasn't necessary. Unforgivable. His heavily Scots accent was another thing I didn't like, it wasn't a nice smooth reading and called for unnecessary attention while reading.

And what was with all the rape?! I don't know how many times Claire was assaulted or had her clothes torn and flesh all exposed. And Claire wasn't the only one out there getting all this 'attention'. The mother of all nightmares in the end left such a bad taste in my mouth. Take a psychotic bastard who happens to be homosexual, add coercion, lust, torture, s&m, and ramblings about incestuous feelings towards your brother = Jamie being raped by his wife's husband's ancestor. I mean what the hell?! Messed up just went to a whole new level.

After reading that, I felt so repulsive towards poor Frank and he wasn't even to be blamed. Claire should have cut off Randall's balls when she had the chance. I agree with others that the book was never ending, it dragged on quite a bit for me. I started skipping a lot of pages, I skipped the sex scenes [I have nothing against sex scenes really but most of the ones in this book were either uncomfortable, unnatural, uninteresting or unpleasant to read] and I specifically skipped a lot of pages towards the end right after Jamie's rape induced phobias.

I finished the book and read one page of the second book but somehow I didn't feel the need to quickly continue with a couple's story like I usually do. I don't know if I love this book or hate it, I guess it's neither. I just found it alright, with some moments of good reading and story line. On finishing this I was sure of one thing, I do not like devilishly-handsome-rugged-warriors-who-are-too-passionate-and-too-possessive-almost-savage-at-times type of guys, contrary to what I thought earlier.

I am planning to read all the books in this series. I just need to figure out how to read all these longish novels! I do know I'd like to have a medal if I make through all of these novels. 

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